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Psaki describes effort to promote vaccine confidence in ‘white conservative communities’

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The Biden administration is focusing its efforts on strengthening vaccine confidence in “white conservative communities” by promoting the vaccine on NASCAR, the country music television channel and shows like “Deadliest Catch,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

At a White House press briefing on Monday, a reporter asked what efforts were being taken to push vaccines in rural states like Mississippi, Ohio and Oklahoma where they were “having a hard time getting folks vaccinated.” The reporter cited that vaccination rates were only at 34% in these states.

Psaki said a large number of steps were being taken to strengthen vaccine confidence in “the highest-risk and hardest-hit communities” such as “conservative communities, white evangelicals.”

“We’ve run PSAs on ‘The Deadliest Catch,’ we’re engaged with NASCAR and Country Music TV,” Psaki said.

“We’re looking for a range of creative ways to get directly connected to white conservative communities. We won’t always be the best messengers, but we’re still trying to meet people where they are, but also empower local organizations,” she continued.

A recent poll by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation found that Republicans and white evangelical Christians were most likely to refuse the Covid vaccination with almost 30% of each group saying they’ll “definitely not” get vaccinated.

Many are worried that this will impact herd immunity.

President Joe Biden announced a $10 billion investment in March to strengthen “vaccine confidence” in hardest-hit, highest-risk communities.

$3 billion went to strengthening vaccine confidence, according to a White House briefing.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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COVID-19

CDC drops 5-day COVID-19 isolation guidelines

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According to a statement released Friday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is no longer necessary to isolate for five days after testing positive for COVID-19.

The new guidance does however tell people to stay at home if they are sick, but can return to work or school when they are feeling better or have been fever-free for 24 hours. These are the same guidance given for flu and other respiratory illnesses.

“Our goal here is to protect those at risk for severe illness while also reassuring folks that these recommendations are simple, clear, easy-to-understand and can be followed,” said CDC Director Mandy Cohen in a statement to media on Friday.

The updated guidance “reflects the progress we’ve made in protecting against severe illness from COVID,” she added. Before Friday’s update, the CDC called for people who test positive for the virus to “stay home for at least five days and isolate from others in your home.”  The recommendation had been implemented in late 2021.

“The pandemic has been over for several months, and though there was an uptick this winter, with over 20,000 hospitalizations and 1,500 deaths per week at one point, it is now diminishing,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, head of the CDC, earlier this month in an interview with Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel.

Fox News reports that as of the most recently reported week ending Feb. 24, the share of administered COVID tests with positive results was 7.4%, a 0.6% decrease from the prior week, per CDC data. Out of all emergency department visits, 1.8% of them were diagnosed with COVID, a 0.9% week-over-week decline. Additionally, COVID-related hospitalizations decreased 10.3% from the prior week. The share of all U.S. deaths due to COVID was 2.1%, which reflected an 8.7% decrease.

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